With so much change in the past two years centered around the deprecation of signals — the looming demise of third-party cookies, Apple’s privacy measures that have brought its walled-garden rivals to their knees — this is a moment in marketing history, in the publisher can finally gain some ground Greater competition on social platforms?
It’s a valid question asked by Advertiser Perceptions, an independent research firm that surveys marketers, media companies and agencies on issues affecting the brand marketing ecosystem.
Nicole Perrin, vice president of business intelligence at Advertiser Perceptions, said the company has been hard at work answering questions for its respondents about the future of identifiers and the looming end of cookies, even as changes are on the horizon.
“We asked both the buy-side and sell-side whether they agree with the statement that these changes, including deprecation of third-party cookies and changes to MAIDs, agree [mobile advertising IDs] will give publishers more level playing field with the Walled Gardens,” she said. “And majorities have agreed with that statement.”
Perrin spoke to Digiday and shared other Advertiser Perceptions findings on privacy legislation and the benefits publishers have seen in relation to walled gardens.
The following conversation has been edited for clarity.
Her research shows that publishers can gain ground in walled gardens by making better use of first-party data collection. Why?
I find it really interesting that people are thinking along these lines – it surprised me at first. Because the thing about the walled gardens is that they’re enormous in size, right? That’s something that’s not necessarily going to change. Not every publisher will ever have the same number of users as Facebook, Google, Amazon and so on. But what respondents are seeing is that in the future, these platforms will have less data than they do now because they won’t be able to suck in data from all channels. They only have what people really give them. And that part puts them in the same position as any other publisher. So the other publishers will have a smaller scale, but they may also have more depth and potentially more valuable data.
When we talk about a publisher that has a certain category of content, let’s say it’s about cooking or sports. People really engage with this content, which itself isn’t generic. These publishers will know a lot about their audience. In many cases, the audience is subscribed or may be a paying audience. So you can have many too [personally identifiable information], you may have payment processing data, you may have addresses and so on. That’s very valuable. But even without that — even with just the behavioral data — you get a deep understanding of audience interests that might not be apparent from a Facebook, which can be very general. They won’t be of the same scale, but the depth and value can still be there.
How does pricing affect things? If publishers start charging a much higher CPM because they claim a deeper relationship, could the cost per eyeball become too high?
Many advertisers are impacted by inflation, supply chain disruptions, rising interest rates, etc. But there is a big focus on ROI and effectiveness and the ability to prove that what you are still investing in is paying off. That means the channels where it’s harder to measure — where it’s harder to attribute sales to advertising — those channels are more likely to have trouble getting budget. In these times, too, investments are made in channels in which one can directly refer to a return on investment. Well, the fact that publishers have a lot of information helps from a measurement perspective. And there are ways for them to work with retailers, for example, to prove that the attribution is working and that the investment is working. So, investing and leveraging first-party data isn’t just for targeting, it’s also for attribution of measurements — and that part is critical.
How does the prospect of national data protection laws affect this way of thinking? Isn’t everyone affected?
I am inclined to say so [not everyone will] be negatively impacted, especially when it comes to large advertisers. Because they are already dealing with compliance with California privacy laws, but also with GDPR. From the perspective of big advertisers and big publishers, I think federal law will likely make compliance easier and less complicated. Smaller advertisers and smaller publishers may be more likely to have to change their practices if something like this were to happen.
Are advances in other measurement methods, such as attention, helping to lift all the proverbial ships?
It depends. If you take a model-based approach like MMM [marketing mix modeling], it really depends on what kind of model you are using – how it was developed, what the assumptions in the model are. I keep talking to people who feel their model doesn’t give fair recognition to the X-channel, so that can be an issue. When we talk about partnerships with retailers that enable cleanroom-based access to deterministic shopping data, it’s not going to lift all boats. That will only raise the boats of those involved in these partnerships and whose ads are actually working well. It requires both.